Health literacy development is central to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases

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  • Osborne, Richard Harry
  • Shandell Elmer
  • Melanie Hawkins
  • Christina C. Cheng
  • Roy W. Batterham
  • Sónia Dias
  • Suvajee Good
  • Maristela G. Monteiro
  • Bente Mikkelsen
  • Ranjit Gajendra Nadarajah
  • Guy Fones

The WHO's report Health literacy development for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) delivers practical what-to-do how-to-do guidance for health literacy development to build, at scale, contextually-relevant public health actions to reduce inequity and the burden of NCDs on individuals, health systems and economies. The key premise for health literacy development is that people's health awareness and behaviours are linked to lifelong experiences and social practices, which may be multilayered, hidden and beyond their control. Meaningful community engagement, local ownership and locally driven actions are needed to identify health literacy strengths, challenges and preferences to build locally fit-for-purpose and implementable actions. Health literacy development needs to underpin local and national policy, laws and regulations to create enabling environments that reduce community exposures to NCD risk factors. Deficit approaches and siloed health system and policy responses need to be avoided, focusing instead on integrating community-based solutions through co-design, cognisant of people's daily experiences and social practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere010362
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number12
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Author(s). Published by BMJ.

    Research areas

  • Control strategies, Health education and promotion, Health policy, Prevention strategies, Public Health

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